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Lawmakers Approve $90 Million for New Research Centers

Thu March 30, 2017 - West Edition
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Funding for two new research centers in Idaho have been approved by the state senate.
Funding for two new research centers in Idaho have been approved by the state senate.

Idaho lawmakers have approved the use of $90 million worth of bonds for the construction of two new buildings at a federal research facility in Idaho Falls.

A resolution to fund the Cybercore Integration Center and the Collaborative Computing Center at the Idaho National Laboratory in passed the House on March 28 with overwhelming support, the Post Register reported ( Fourteen lawmakers voted against the resolution.

Officials expect the centers to create 500 high-paying tech jobs and about 1,000 temporary construction jobs.

The Cybercore Integration Center will serve as a research, education and training facility for cybersecurity work, which the laboratory sees as a career with major future growth opportunities. The Collaborative Computing Center will house a supercomputer for scientific simulations and modeling which lab officials said will be available for state universities to use for research and education.

"This collaboration is a tremendous opportunity for higher education in our state," said Republican Rep. Wendy Horman, who carried the bill.

Other conservative lawmakers also voiced their support for the bill, such as Republican Rep. Bryan Zollinger who is in his first term.

"This will probably be the only debt bill I will vote for in my entire legislative career," Zollinger said.

Both Zollinger and Horman are Republicans from Idaho Falls, where the Idaho National Laboratory is located.

Taxpayers should not expect to incur no cost for the building, state officials said.

The INL may lease the state-owned buildings for up to 15 years, but INL representatives said they plan to stay in them after that time and promise to pay for the buildings.

Some lawmakers doubted lab official's promises of repayment, but Harmon said the INL has never defaulted lease payments.

The concurrent resolution will not require Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's signature.—AP

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